Gideon Sweet

A Crash Course in Naschen-Style Dining From Matthias Merges and Graham Elliot

Small Plates and Small Cocktails in the West Loop

By Sarah Freeman ·
Ebee34357514895155bceea4ca8c761f10 PhotosGideon Sweet

From the makers of small plates comes...

Small cocktails.

Don't worry, though. Sometimes big things come in small packages.

It's all happening at Gideon Sweet, a collaborative creation by Matthias Merges and Graham Elliot that brings Naschen-style dining to the West Loop. It opens tonight. Take a look.

About that whole "Naschen" thing. Basically, it means that while you're admiring the walls adorned with street art and woven blankets covering the booths, a server emerges from the open kitchen to tempt you with a tray of deliciousness. Maybe it's filled with fried squid or seared duck breast. Pick what you'd like and carry on. Basically, it's dim sum.

The rest of your meal requires less explaining. Fried, spiraled potatoes are covered in drawn butter and parmesan. Grilled fish collar is flavored with yuzu. And an oversized lamb meatball sits on a bed of spiced lentils. Take it in the white, minimalistic dining room or at the winding bar. Come summer, take it in the cobblestone courtyard.

Now, about those tiny cocktails. These composed shooters, or "small pours," pair a mini cocktail like frozen sake or a gin martini with savory bites like umeboshi and aged Mimolette cheese. But yes, they have regular-sized cocktails, too, as well as an extensive vintage spirits selection, but where's the fun in that?

Don't answer that.

Sarah Freeman is often accused of hiding secrets in her hair. She can make any cocktail, as long as that cocktail is a rye Old Fashioned, and has never met a saison she didn’t like.

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